Good choices don’t always work out

THE BELMONT County commissioners made a great hire Wednesday. They had a tough decision, but to their credit it, they nailed it.

Unfortunately, their prudent choice lasted less than two days.

Commissioners were looking to fill the big shoes of Dwayne Pielech as director of the Department of Jobs and Family Services. The position brings with it a nice stipend but many headaches.

When John Rowan accepted the position Wednesday, a quality replacement for Pielech was employed. Just days later, however, commissioners are looking for Rowan’s successor.

Rowan had a quick change of heart. He has opted to remain as director of the Oakview Juvenile Residential Center. It is a job he has excelled at for the past seven-plus years.

The Wheeling resident cited personal reasons for his turnabout. His current position is definitely more family friendly than the rigors that come with running the DJFS. Rowan is married and has a 20-month-old son.

I have known John for many years, and hold him in high regard. He is professional in every sense of the word. He has a great ability to interact with personalities of all types and is a character individual.

John would have excelled as DJFS director, as he has in every previous position he has filled. I commend him for making a tough and public decision to yield a job after such a short stay.


A FORMER St. John Central athletic standout is waging a courageous battle against cancer.

Jim Staley, a 1982 SJC graduate, is suffering from lung cancer. To help him and his family meet mounting medical bills, a fundraiser has been scheduled for July 5&6.

A bake sale and rummage sale will be held at the Martins Ferry Recreation Center. A four-day Jamboree In The Hills pass will also be raffled off.

Monetary donations will also be accepted.


THE BELLAIRE Chamber of Commerce met Thursday for its June meeting at the Country Club Retirement Campus, located just west of Bellaire. President Lou Ann Bennett reported that the All-American Days Festival was a huge success, noting “there was a lot of people in town during the festival.”

Fred Ottoson reported that the Imperial Glass Convention also went very well.

Chamber members were in agreement that village parking meters are proving detrimental. They also were united in their belief that downtown sidewalks must be repaired.


THE MARTINS FERRY Chamber of Commerce held its monthly luncheon Tuesday at the recreation center.

President Bob Zilai noted that a silent fundraiser was held to benefit the chamber. He said 15 businesses took part and it proved a big success.

Secretary Marian Klier reported on the Soap Box Derby, saying that there were 27 participants. A derby wrapup meeting was held Wednesday.

With the derby now in the garage for another year, Zilai noted the next major chamber event is the Sky Show planned for July 3 at the school campus. Ride sponsors are still needed.

The chamber will then have its annual sausage stand at the Betty Zane Days Festival from Aug. 6-10.

Councilman Rob Duncan reported the Runnin’ From the Cops as well as the city cleanup went well last Saturday. He also noted that the city park is being utilized much more these days.

Councilman Chris Cleary said the city is beginning to feel the effects of cutbacks in Local Government Funding. Cleary added that the water department is saving $4,000 thanks to using a website. He added the new parking lot is completed, featuring 23 spots.

Zilai added the chamber has added two new members: The Martins Ferry Lions Club and the Martins Ferry Alumni Association. The next chamber meeting is planned for July 15.


LIKE HIM or not, your heart has to go out to Phil Mickelson. He is a great golfer and equally a good guy. However, he once again came up short in the U.S. Open, finishing second an unbelievable sixth time. The lefty has four major titles to his credit, but none coming in our national championship. At age 43, he may never realize that dream.

AFTER THIS past week’s search in Michigan for Jimmy Hoffa’s remains again proved fruitless, it is time to toss in the shovel. The latest search was triggered by the son of a former mobster boss who swore that this was the location where Hoffa was buried. After nearly 40 years since his disappearance, Hoffa’s final resting site will likely always stay a mystery.

SOMETIMES I would rather be wrong. A week ago, I said the Miami Heat would win the NBA finals in seven games. Unfortunately, that prediction rang true Thursday night. San Antonio was the better team but Miami had LeBron James.

CONGRATULATIONS TO Yorkville Councilman Ron Emerson. He recently was honored by the Ohio Senate for his 50 years of continuos service as a Yorkville councilman. Anyone serving in politics for a half a century is more than deserving of such honors.

BELLAIRE IS wasting no time in making use of its new gazebo in the village’s park. “Picnic in the Park” is planned for Saturday, July 6 from 5-9 p.m. Free music from the 1950, ’60 and ’70s will be presented by “Mr. K.” The event is open to the public. Lawn chairs, coolers with non-alcohol drinks are acceptable. Prizes will be given out randomly. Event organizers are hoping it becomes popular enough to hold on a regular basis.

Kapral may be reached at